Have you ever wished that your Gmail had the ability to reply to some of your emails without you having to do anything?

It appears that Google has heard its customers’ outcries so it’s launching the “Smart Reply”, a new inbox feature that can send quick replies whenever you’re on the go.

What’s more interesting, though, is how the feature works. Basically, it reads your email and suggests up to three possible answers. The inbox also uses machine learning in order to better recognize emails that require a fast response.

Bálint Miklós, a Google software engineer, wrote in the company’s blog:

Smart Reply suggests up to three responses based on the emails you get. For those emails that only need a quick response, it can take care of the thinking and save precious time spent typing. And for those longer emails that require a bit more thought, it gives you a jump-start so you can respond right away.

At this point, it is worth noting that automatically generated responses is not a new trend in the market. Apple has allowed iOS users for quite some time now to respond to calls with generic but customizable text messages.

Google is using artificial intelligence up to an extent, to operate such a feature.

Google senior research scientist Greg Corrado explained how the system works on blog post:

Like other sequence-to-sequence models, the Smart Reply System is built on a pair of recurrent neural networks, one used to encode the incoming email and one to predict possible responses. The encoding network consumes the words of the incoming email one at a time, and produces a vector (a list of numbers). This vector, which Geoff Hinton calls a “thought vector,” captures the gist of what is being said without getting hung up on diction— for example, the vector for “Are you free tomorrow?” should be similar to the vector for “Does tomorrow work for you?” The second network starts from this thought vector and synthesizes a grammatically correct reply one word at a time, like it’s typing it out. Amazingly, the detailed operation of each network is entirely learned, just by training the model to predict likely responses.

Smart Reply is available for both Android and iOS platforms. Let us know your first impression on Gmail’s new feature in the comments below.

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